Art And Culture

Einstein’s Violin Fetches $516,500 at NY Auction

Einstein’s Violin Fetches $516,500 at NY AuctionEinstein’s Violin Fetches $516,500 at NY Auction

A violin belonging to the genius Albert Einstein who gifted it to a janitor’s son has sold for a whopping $516,500.

The famed physicist played the stringed instrument since the age of six and rarely travelled without one later in life, Daily Mail reported.

It was said that playing the violin helped him think about his theories. Einstein fled Nazi Germany and migrated to America in 1933.

The Noble prize winner’s arrival in the US was heralded by Oscar Steger, a Cabinet maker and member of a symphony orchestra in Pennsylvania.

He made a violin for Einstein and inscribed the inside of it with the words “Made for the Worlds[sic] Greatest Scientist Profesior[sic] Albert Einstein By Oscar H. Steger, Feb 1933 / Harrisburg, PA.”

Einstein, who developed the theory of relativity, later gave the instrument to William Hibbs, who was the son of the janitor at Princeton University where Einstein was a resident scholar.

It has remained in the Hibbs family ever since and now belongs to a descendant who has chosen to sell it at an auction.

According to auctioneers Bonhams, no other violins owned by Einstein have ever come on the market before.

Tom Lamb, of Bonhams, said: “It appears Einstein knew janitor Sylas Hibbs’ son was learning to play the violin and he made the gesture of giving him his own. This is a very personal item that Einstein clearly would have used. It is in very good condition and has been well looked after.”

Einstein began playing the violin at the age of six but it was not until the age of 13, when he discovered the Mozart violin sonatas, that music became a passion for him.

His second wife Elsa was once quoted as saying: “Music helps him when he is thinking about his theories. He goes to his study, comes back, strikes a few chords on the piano, jots something down, returns to his study.”

Einstein also said: “Life without playing music is inconceivable for me. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music ... I get most joy in life out of music.”


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